Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cheney Interview, War Discussion With Michael Ware, And A Special On Modern Day Slavery (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. Tonight is one of those nights where they keep us on our toes. We go from live to a taped special and then back to live. I'm going to do the whole taped special in this post even though it went over into next hour too. We begin with clips from Wolf Blitzer's big interview with Dick Cheney. It's good they got the Wolfbot to do this because Cheney is much too evil to talk with a human anchor. It's kind of hard to judge this interview because 360 has it all chopped up and I didn't watch the original from The Situation Room. However, it does look like the Wolfbot did his usual hacktastic job. I'm sorry, but reading a statement or playing a clip and then asking the person to respond is not good journalism. Anybody can do that. I want them to ask their own questions. At one point the Wolfbot asks about the Iraqi government maybe turning against the US and Cheney growls, "That won't happen." Yes, and Saddam had WMDs. And they greeted us as liberators. And they're in their last throes. How must it feel to be so deluded?

The main part of the interview that gets hyped is when the Wolfbot brings up Mary Cheney. She's a lesbian doncha know? A pregnant lesbian. The world is ending! The Wolfbot mentions how some right wing groups are against her having a child and Cheney thinks this is all very out of line. Oh c'mon! The woman wrote a book. I think everything is very much in line. The Wolfbot short circuits a little bit and then joins us live to proclaimed how shocked! he is that Cheney would take offense. He's not taking offense, Wolfbot, he's spinning and changing the subject. Although from experience I know you're not very good at noticing that kind of thing. In another part of the interview the Wolfbot states that Saddam was contained before the war. Cheney, however, rejects this idea. Man, I wish I could just reject reality like that. My next car payment I'm sending sans check with the phrase "I reject this," over the slip.

Transitioning now to Anderson giving us a spiel about what when down on Haifa Street today. As he talks we see a b-roll of video labeled Department of Defense. This gives me pause because I immediately wonder why they're using that video. There is no verbal acknowledgement that this is not CNN's video. It bugs me because I view anything like that from the Pentagon to be propaganda. After all, the only reason we're seeing it is because they want us to. We then move into a John Roberts piece and they're still using some of the b-roll. The piece is about all of the bi-partisan nonbinding resolutions in Congress right now regarding the war. Since they're nonbinding they're pretty pointless. Congress, please do something real!

Next up we have Michael Ware in the studio and he informs us that we don't even need to wait until March to see if Maliki does what he promised because we already know how this will play out. Anderson points out that this time they say it's different. "They always say that,"Michael replies. Right on. Someone's been paying attention. Anderson tries again, this time mentioning that Iraqi troops will be living with US troops under the new strategy. Michael rolls his eyes and scoffs this off. Anderson then laughs that Michael didn't even let him finish. Save it Anderson. Michael ain't having it no more! He says that the changes are like a drop in a bucket and they might as well not bother. Michael also states that Cheney is spinning when he says he has no reason not to trust Maliki and that Muqtadr al-Sadr is now a movement that cannot be wiped out. Okay, everything he just said is totally depressing and terrifying, but can I just say that I love Michael Ware? There are very few places on the news you can find this kind of honesty.

Big transition now to the slavery special and Anderson kind of previews everything for us at the top. There are currently 12.3 million slaves in the world right now. Mind boggling. We begin with a Randi Kaye piece in Atlanta, ground zero for child prostitution. I did not know that. Apparently Johns like the young girls because they think they're cleaner (as in less STDs) and pimps like them because they're easier to control. We meet one young woman who was tied to a bed for two weeks in her pimp's house...while his family was there! What is wrong with these people?! Basically the way it works is that "scouts" go out and find vulnerable girls and then take them to the pimps. Former prostitute Rachel Lloyd then joins us in studio. Rachel has founded Girls Education and Mentoring Service and she notes that girls are trafficked from city to city based on demand. For example, more girls are brought in for the Super Bowl. That's just sick. Rachel explains that girls get sucked into this because it's exciting for a 13 year old to get attention and gifts from an older man. The problem is that soon the luring stops and the slavery begins. She urges us to see these girls not as prostitutes, but as victims and to stop glorifying pimp culture. I'm sure MTV will get right on that second suggestion. I completely agree with her though.

Next up we have an Anderson piece on Pulitizer prize winning columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. If you haven't been reading his Darfur stuff; you should be. Anyway, Nicholas has been covering the situation in Cambodia off and on for about 10 years now and four years ago when he went he actually bought two prostitutes for $350 and gave them their freedom. I know journalists aren't suppose to get involved like that, but I say screw that rule. What he did was awesome. One girl was named Stre-Mam (ph) and unfortunately when Nicholas went back to check up on her she was back in the brothel. Apparently these brothels get the girls addicted to meth so they have to come back. So sad. Another girl was kidnapped when a woman she thought was her friend gave her drugged ice cream. The drug actually caused her to be mute for a quite a while. Nicholas informs us that some men think that sex with a virgin will cure their AIDS and that the money for these slaves is so good that sometimes families will even sell their own daughters. I just can't comprehend that.

After Anderson's piece Nicholas is in the studio and he says that everytime he goes to check on Stre-Man (ph) she says she will go back to her parents, but he knows she never will. One interesting tidbit is that the brothel owner actually has a bond with all the girls, though she cheats them. Anderson mentions that one brothel is even run by the cops. However, Nicholas states that there has been some effort to crack down on the slave trade in Cambodia due to US pressure. Yay us! It's so rare these days that I get an opportunity to be proud of my country. Nicholas points out that the millions in slavery is too big of a number. The story needs to be told one face at a time. Yep. As they say: One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic. After this conversation we get a piece from Dan Rivers on Mam Somly, a former prostitute who runs a refuge in Cambodia for those previously in brothels.

On now to a Thelma Gutierrez piece on modern day slaves in the US who work without pay against their will. We meet a Thai woman who was offered a job in a California restraurant. She jumped at the chance to work in America, but once she got here her passport was taken and she found herself enslaved. Another woman went through something similar and was actually forced to sleep on a dog bed. Disgusting. Moving on to a Jeff Koinange piece on the Lord's Resistance Army of Uganda. The LRA is headed by Joseph Kony and the group states that they are based on the 10 commandments. However, I don't remember the commandment that says thou shalt invade villages, kidnap children, and force the children to become sex slaves and child soldiers. Perhaps it was an oversight. Anyway, the situation is so bad for Ugandan kids that they've taken to commuting from their villages every night to avoid being kidnapped. One girl tells us how she was made to build a fire using decapitated heads for support and another woman states that some of the kids were made to actually cook human beings and serve them up. There are no words. Komy is tired of hiding and says that he will stop his fight against the Ugandan govenment in exchange for immunity. However, his victims want him tried for crimes against humanity. I'd like that myself. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The last piece is a repeat from Joe Johns. Great show tonight. A-

What did you think about the Wolfbot/Cheney interview? Did you notice the DOD video? Have you read Kristof? What did you think about the special?


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